It's a tough job market out there. In the past few years, we've seen massive layoffs, with many successful people being laid off for the first time in their careers.

It's a different time.

I've had countless friends and clients who were out of a job for months, maybe even a year, or still are. These are talented, hard-working people! What the heck??!

Because this topic has come up so much lately—women I care about losing steam in their job-search journey—I wanted to address it in today's newsletter and provide a few tips to stay positive during this process.

Before I dive in, I want to acknowledge that getting laid off sucks. Even if the whole department is let go or you're told it's not due to performance, there can be an emotional toll. So, if you've been through this, take some time to work through these feelings and seek support if needed.

Okay, so you got laid off, took a week to yourself and then started getting back out there. What you thought would take a few weeks or a month has now stretched into many months. There were a few opportunities that you were sure would pan out, but at the last minute, they ended up going with another candidate or choosing not to fill the role at all.

Now what?

The biggest thing you can do at this stage is focus on yourself and try to maintain a positive mindset. This is a tough spot to be in, and the people I know dealing with it are feeling pretty down, frustrated, and even hopeless.

Here are 5 tips and reminders that I hope will help you during this time:

1. Take this time to level up or try something new

Have you been meaning to register for that project management course?

Have you always wondered what it would be like to do some consulting?

Now's your chance! Often, when we're busy with our jobs, the idea of taking time to invest in our growth or try a side hustle feels like too much. Chances are, you're already trying to balance work with the rest of your life!

The universe has now handed you this opportunity. Are you going to use it? I think you should.

I know one woman who was laid off from Google years ago and decided to start coaching and consulting. She's now spent the last 12 years building a lucrative business that not only makes her more money than she ever did before but also gives her more freedom.

Not a bad deal.

But even if working for yourself isn't appealing, you can still take advantage of this new-found time by taking a course or developing a new skill that will help you get to the next level in your career. Heck, it may even help you land that next job.

2. Network, network, network

Many people reach out to me on LinkedIn, asking me how they can get hired. The problem is 2-fold: first, many of the jobs posted on LinkedIn are fake. Yep, sad but true (check to ensure they are verified). Second, even if the job is real, you're blindly adding your resume to a huge stack of other anonymous resumes. Do you really want to play that game?

I wouldn't.

The other alternative is to actually go out there and create connections at the companies you want to work with while also maintaining your existing network. Getting a referral is often the difference between relying on a screening tool to choose your resume and being guaranteed that first interview (at that point, it's up to you).

If you've been good about this in the past, you're in a great position. Let's be honest; it's not ideal to wait until you need something to contact your past colleagues and friends.

If you're feeling a little sheepish because you haven't maintained your network, it's not too late. Reach out to some old colleagues and managers who you worked well with and check in to see how they're doing. See if they want to grab a coffee (virtual or in-person) and have a real conversation with them. Yes, your current job situation may come up, and then you have an opportunity to ask them to keep you in mind if they hear about anything.

Going forward, ensure that you're keeping in touch every so often so they know you care about the relationship outside of when you're job searching!

In terms of being more targeted, if you know someone at a specific company that is hiring for a position you want, you can reach out regarding that position and see if they can pass on your resume. Chances are, the hiring manager they pass your resume to will ask what you're like, and they can share some kind words.

Finally, if you're looking to make new connections, start attending local business events and set the goal of talking to 3-5 new people per event. Following the event, connect with them on LinkedIn and send them a personal note. You can also start building virtual relationships through LinkedIn.

The key is to be consistent. Going to one event or sending 2 DMs on LinkedIn probably isn't going to cut it. Create a plan to reach out to a handful of people every single week.

3. Don't compare your journey with others

Easier said than done, right? But as the famous quote goes, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

Maybe some of your colleagues who were laid off at the same time have found new jobs. Maybe they ALL have! Who cares? They aren't you, and you aren't on the same journey. The truth is, you have no idea whether they are truly happy in their new role or if they took the first thing that came their way and are already miserable.

Focus on what you want in your own life, and ensure that you're working towards that north star. When someone you know lands a new role, be genuinely happy for them and let them know. Think about the hidden opportunity in this – you now have a contact at that company who may be able to get you in!

4. Create a new habit or routine that serves you

This one is similar to #1, but more personal. Again, let's remind ourselves that you now have time to do some stuff! Maybe you've been wanting to get into better shape or create a habit around mindfulness. Why wait?

Creating some new healthy habits isn't just opportunistic; it'll also help boost your mood, which you may need right now. If possible, try to create a routine that you can commit to continuing when you're back at work.

Some of the best mood-boosting and rejuvenating habits I've cultivated are:

  • Morning exercise: This one is a non-negotiable for me and such a mood booster.
  • Meditation: Helps with focus and perspective. It may get you out of your funk.
  • Cold water: I know it sucks, but if you're depressed and low energy, try taking a 2min cold shower every morning for a week and see what happens. Trust me.
  • Walking outside: Even better if you can do this first thing in the morning. Get some sun in your eyes and on your skin. Taking a walk often makes things better and never makes them worse.
  • Connecting with a friend: If you're used to being in an office, you may be getting pretty damn lonely! So make a habit of sending a Marco Polo to your bestie every day, giving a friend a call, or having a weekly get-together.

5. Find something fun to do that will bring you joy

I've talked a bunch about levelling up, doing the work, and getting better personally and professionally… what about just having some freaking fun? Take an afternoon and lay out by the pool (if you don't have one, you may need to make a friend who has a pool). Find a great yoga class. Make lunch plans with a good friend you haven't seen in a while. Go shopping or for a bike ride!

Sometimes, we just need to indulge in a little fun.

You could even create a ‘fun bucket list' you want to work through while job searching. You can take Monday to Thursday to do all the responsible stuff and make Friday “Fun Day”! Up to you, but working a little bit of fun into the schedule may help you see the silver lining in where you are today.

To all of you who are job-searching, know that I am cheering you on from over here. 

Until next time friends… ✌️💜